Moments in Time

Life is a series of moments, good, bad and everything in between.  Just thought I’d share some of my recent ones …

Sentimental Moment

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Accompanying my mum on a trip down Memory Lane

(aka De Beauvoir Square, N1)

Precious Moment

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Lovely Laura, my Romaniac pal, and her family coming to visit for the day

Precious Moment

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Meeting another of my equally lovely Romaniac pals, Jan Brigden, for lunch

Panic Moment

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Realising Jan and I had talked non-stop for 3 hours and I had 50 minutes to get from Victoria to Hammersmith

Pinch Me Moment

Harper party HQ

Walking into Harper Collins’ offices

Over-awed Moment

Harper party atrium

A very impressive building

Special Moment

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Holding my paperback

Funny Moment

Harper party Mandy

Mandy wearing her lucky dip prize

Surprise Moment

Harper party Lou G

Seeing Lou Graham at the Harper Impulse party

Grateful Moment

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Being woken up by another passenger on the train who was concerned I’d miss my stop

Relieved Moment

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Hitting my deadline and sending Book 2 off

Wildest Moments

Just because I like this song and it’s about moments

Wishing  you all great moments

Sue

x

Follow Your Dreams

Woke up this morning and pinched myself, then checked Amazon, no, it definitely wasn’t a dream – my contemporary romance novel ‘United States of Love‘ was released by Harper Impulse last week.

It is set in the lovely historic towns of Chichester and Arundel, both local to me. I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some photos of the settings and scenes for my main characters, Anna, Tex and Mark.

ARUNDEL

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Arundel Castle where the creepy curator works

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Swanbourne Lake where Anna and Tex find themselves in a nightmare situation

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Arundel High Street, looking up towards the castle

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Public gardens alongside the River Arun, looking up towards the Cathedral

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Bottom of the High Street

 

CHICHESTER

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The Cross, Chichester centre, where Mark makes Anna an offer she can’t refuse

Chichester Cathedral inside

An unwelcome surprise awaits Anna in Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral from Bishop's Palace Gardens

Chichester Cathedral from Bishop’s Palace Gardens

 

I took the following photo a couple of years ago, which I think speaks for itself. It certainly worked for me and my publishing dream.

Follow your dreams

City Walls

 

Thank you everyone for your support.

Have a great week.

Sue

x

Writing Hot Scenes

Today I’m blogging over at The Romaniacs about writing from female or male point of view, in particular those *hot* scenes.

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Do we really know what a man thinks?

More to the point, do we really want to know or are we happy to imagine?

man thinking

Pop over – would be interested to hear your thoughts on this. 

www.theromaniacgroup.wordpress.com

RNA Conference, Sheffield 2013

I had a great weekend at the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference,this year held in Sheffield.

Sheffield Edge building

Mandy Baggot was my co-driver for our road trip

Move over Thelma and Louise, here come Velma and Daphne

Sheffield going home car

It was lovely to  meet up with some of the Romaniacs

(L-R) Vanessa Savage, Me, Debbie White, Laura E James, Celia J Anderson

Sheffield Romaniacs

And Linn B Halton from Love A Happy Ending Lifestyle Magazine

Sheffield Linn Mandy

Fab goody bags awaited us all!

Sheffield goody bag

I attended some great presentations

Julie Cohen‘s talk on ‘theme’ being one of them

Sheffield Julie Cohen

Sue Moorcroft’s talk on ‘hot’ scenes

Sheffield Sue M

Fiona Harper gave a fantastic talk on structure in a novel.

Talks from the publishing industry were very interesting too

Anna Boatman, Editor, Piatkus Entice

Sheffield Piaktus

A fabulous gala dinner, which involved a lot of laughter and possibly a drop of wine!

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Sheffield Laura Rhoda

Sheffield Debs Linn

Sheffield cheers

But plenty of time to relax and chat

Sheffield Sue Celia Kitchen

Sheffield Laura Vanessa

My 6.30 morning strolls with Mandy Baggot took us via the duck pond

Sheffield ducks

It was a fantastic weekend – thank you Sheffield University and the RNA.

The Identity Crisis of a Book Cover

Everyone knows how important it is to get the book cover right. After seeing my book come up on Amazon alongside its contemporaries, the one thing I noticed was the other books shouted romance or chicklit loud and clear yet mine seemed not to be shouting but more talking quietly.  The title, of course, indicates it’s a romance but when flicking through thumbnails on Amazon etc, the title is not often the first thing that grabs the attention of a potential reader, it’s the cover.

Cathy Helms from Avalon Graphics designed my first cover, under my brief of  ‘nothing too girly, fluffy or pink’ – well, she took that on board and together we agreed on a cover that was very much ‘me’. The Texan flag design on a stable door, with the star being replaced by a heart. However, on reflection, it didn’t say a whole lot else about my book.

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So in an effort to give more of a flavour of the story, ie. a woman at work, a bistro/restaurant, an American influence and a hint of Texas, I cobbled together a very poor Power Point representation – no, I’m not going to show you. Oh, all right then I will and, yes, you can laugh at my graphic design skills ..

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That is what Cathy had to work with and the words ‘girly, pink and fluffy’ featured highly this time. Cathy did a great job and this was the first version.

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We decided that the cursive script would be hard to read on a thumbnail, especially with my surname which, although an everyday  name in France, isn’t particularly common in the UK.  We made the pot plants smaller so they didn’t intrude, added the stars and stripes on the blinds, restricted it to three colours and added a border so that on a white background the cover didn’t just merge in.

USoL-Final

Although I am sad to say goodbye to my much loved original cover, I do think the objective has been achieved as there is no mistaking the genre of my book now and I have a theme I can take forward for future novels.

USoL-3D-Promo

A Little Announcement …

I am delighted to say my book United State of Love has been awarded the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion.

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For those of you who are not aware of this award, basically it is given to books that have been through an anonymous reading panel and deemed to be of a high quality. If you want to find out more you can visit their website INDIE B.R.A.G. You can also see my book featured under their ‘romance’ section.

So after five months of waiting, I can now say I am officially a ‘2012 B.R.A.G.MedallionTM Honoree’.

And here is my book with its medallion

😀

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Available in paperback and digital at

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Brag Medallion

Feed A Read

Barnes & Noble

You can find indieBRAG on Facebook HERE

Reviews

Amazon, seven 5* reviews and two 4* reviews

Kim The Bookworm

Lou Graham

Kicking that list!

It’s been a busy week for me. I started off with the longest list, ever, of things to do and at one point thought I was going to have some sort of meltdown. However, I’m pleased to report meltdown was avoided and embracing my new mantra of ‘Fearless’ (some of you might have read my Fearless blog post) I attacked the list in true Bruce Willis fashion. Yippee-ki-yay!  Not much of a list left now – go me! 🙂

I won’t bore you with all the tedious things on that list but there are a couple worth a mention.

The week started off very civilised with a RNA lunch in Southampton. I met Mandy Baggot, Laura James and Catherine Miller for a quick coffee and a catch up before enjoying a nice lunch with about 15 other members. Lots of laughter and food – I’m not sure why they put us on a separate table…

Mandy & Sue

Also this week I’ve finished the first draft of my novella ‘Closing In’ . This is about to be sent off for proofreading and editing, meaning I’m still on target for my release date of 14 March.  I’ve also finalised the cover and blurb.

Closing In cover final

Ellen Phoenix is running from her past, but her past is out running her.

A new job. A new identify. A new life. She thinks she’s safe.

The quiet coastal village  of Middleton-on-Sea seems the perfect sanctuary for a person who doesn’t want to be found.

However, it appears someone has other ideas. Who knows her secret? Who has betrayed her? Ultimately, who has the most to lose?

Also noteworthy, I’ve had a very short week at work, just one day (today) and one hour tomorrow :-), I’ve finished reading ‘Orion’s Gift’ by Anneli Purchase (will be posting my review on Monday) and have officially registered for the London to Brighton bike ride in June.

And finally, as it’s Valentine’s Day (you seriously didn’t think I was going to ignore this, did you?)

I’ve treated myself to some chocolates

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and now all I need to do, is to decide which of these films to watch tonight

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Will leave you with a song appropriate for today by the great Dionne Warwick

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day

Sue

x

I’m Having a Kiss Fest

It’s all about the kiss today … I’m over at The Romaniancs talking about kissing click HERE to pop over

In the meantime, I’ve listed some of my favourite ‘kiss’ songs, I’m sure there are plenty more, feel free to add any you can think of:-

Kisses for Me, Save all Your Kisses For Me – Brotherhood of Man

Kiss from a Rose – Seal

Changed the Way You Kiss Me – Example

Suck My Kiss – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

French Kissin’ in the USA – Debroah Harry

Shoop, Shoop, Song (It’s In His Kiss) – Cher

Then He Kissed Me – The Crystals

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine – Frankie Vaughan

It Started With A Kiss – Hot Chocolate

RNA Southern Chapter Meeting

I had a really nice Romantic Novelists’ Association Southern Chapter meeting yesterday, Monday 24th September.  I got there a bit ahead of time to meet up with fellow Romaniacs Laura E James and Catherine Miller so we could have a quick coffee in Costas and catch up.  Although we ‘speak’ to each other practically every day, it’s nice to actually be able to meet in person from time to time.  I had also arranged to meet Mandy Baggot at Southampton station as this was the first time she had been.  Costas had the added advantage of being right opposite the station so when Mandy texted to say she had arrived, all I had to do was to stand up and wave through the window to her.

The Chapter meeting itself was well attended, I think there was about 17 of us and, as always, everyone was very friendly and welcoming.  We all  took our turn to talk about where we were with our writing and publishing. It was really interesting to listen to all the different approaches, not just by the authors but by their publishing houses and agents too.  Lots of food for thought, some really useful information and advice.

The day was rounded off by another Costa visit (can you have too many Costa visits?) before the drive home, in much nicer weather conditions than when I set off, thankfully.

Thanks everyone for a most enjoyable day.

Me, Mandy, Laura, Catherine